Digital Themes

Remote Collaboration

Remote collaboration is the process of allowing easy communication between remote teams. Rather than having to occupy the same physical space, remote collaboration allows for teams to work remotely on the same project. There are several reasons why companies and businesses might want to allow for remote collaboration, such as geographically spread locations or needing employees to work from home in response to a pandemic or major natural disaster.  There are many ways that remote employees can collaborate, and a number of remote collaboration tools that can assist.

Remote teams can choose to utilize video conferencing for longer conversations or where body language may be important. Although tone can be heard on traditional calls, sometimes video calls are necessary to help ensure that there are no misunderstandings. Video calls can also be helpful as part of sales calls, as it allows customers to put a face to the company. Video chats can be formal or informal and allow for an experience closer to what one would achieve in a face-to-face meeting. This format can also be helpful for team building exercises across geographic locations, as it is oftentimes easier for teams to bond when they can see each other’s faces, as well as their physical cues and reactions to an exercise.

Remote workers can also utilize cloud-based collaboration software that allows them to work on the same document at the same time. Such software allows for real time changes to occur when an individual edits a document, so that everyone can be involved in the creation or editing process. Rather than having to rely on reading changes out loud, virtual teams can watch the changes in real time and make suggestions as soon as they are relevant, rather than having to wait for a pause to chime in. This promotes teamwork and can improve productivity since workers will not be waiting for documents to be sent back and forth when changes are made. These collaboration tools also typically utilize time tracking techniques to note when changes are made, so it is easy for workers to tell what changes were made when, as well as to revert changes when necessary.

Enabling effective remote collaboration can benefit businesses in many ways, such as:

  • Improving employee morale: Long wait times and misunderstanding can be a problem when remote collaboration is not effective. When a wide range of collaboration tools are available, employees can be sure to utilize the tool that is most appropriate to meet the current goal. This can mean using video calls for talks that might be difficult or ensuring that everyone has access to the most current document versions automatically.

  • Easier responses to unplanned issues: In a traditional office setting that requires everyone to physically show up to work, issues such as heavy snow or a global pandemic can grind the business to a halt. By implementing appropriate remote collaboration systems, businesses can ensure that they can continue to run even when all employees are be sent home for any length of time.

  • Extended reach: Companies can extend the reach of their businesses through remote collaboration. Rather than needing an entire building and staff in a location, they can use remote tools to reach out to new customers without the need to physically be present. As businesses spread throughout a nation or the globe, this also makes communication easier throughout the organization.
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